Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Eye-Movements and the Aesthetics of Visual Form
Stratton, George M.
Eye-Movements and the Aesthetics of Visual Form. 
6. M. Stratton, 
University of California. 
With 31 figures in the text. 
In current theories of our enjoyment of form by the eye, an im¬ 
portant role is often assigned to the sensations coming from the optic 
muscles. Grant Allen, for instance, tells us that »Beauty of Form 
is chiefly concerned with the muscular sweep of the eye in cogniz¬ 
ing adjacent points. . . . The agreeable feeling derived from all graceful 
forms is due to the easy and unimpeded action of the muscles and 
other tissues concerned«1). And similarly Dr. Santayana writes 
that »In the curves we call flowing and graceful, we have ... a more 
natural and rhythmical set of movements of the optic muscles «2). 
Such quotations could be multiplied in favor of the view that 
grace of curve and symmetry of composition are mainly muscular 
matters, and that our pleasure here is in the facility of the eye’s 
motion as it glides over the contour of the figure. The eye’s move¬ 
ments themselves by their ease and balance, make the form grateful 
to us; while ugliness of outline springs from a certain friction and 
weariness in these same organs. It is true that even those writers 
who insist most strongly on the importance of this muscular element 
usually introduce later an »intellectual« factor as contributing to 
the total result. But they put little heart into this concession, and 
the impression remains that, for them, our appreciation of line and 
1) Physiological Aesthetics, p. 168 et seq. 
2) The Sense of Beauty, p. 90.


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